The Nigerian Senate has assured that plans are still in the pipeline to hold the planned national population census in the country this year.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Identity and Population, Senator Abdul Ningi, gave the update yesterday while speaking during the screening of 17 of the 19 commissioner-nominees for the National Population Commission (NPC).
According to him, all that is awaited for the census to hold is a declaration by President Bola Tinubu, adding that seventy-five per cent of the logistics in terms of machines and training of the personnel have been completed.
According to Ningi, once there is a political will on the part of the President, every other thing, including international partners, will fall in place.
He said: “We are almost 11 years without taking the United Nations resolution on population which comes almost every seven years.
“I am sure with the political will, this is possible, it’s doable, the commission is ready, the personnel are ready. All we need do is the announcement by the President that the population census is coming on a date and once he says it, the international observers will now come in with their support.
“Without the President’s declaration, no one will send a kobo to Nigeria to support population census. Seventy-five per cent of the logistics in terms of machines, in terms of training of the personnel have been completed.
“All we need to do is for the President to have the political will, and commitment to say the census is taking place and we cannot postpone it.”
Speaking further, Ningi explained the importance of the population census to Nigeria’s development, noting that without the census, there can be no adequate planning.
“That is why it is difficult now to ascertain the exact population. Even pro-rata, how many are Nigerians because of lack of political will,” the lawmaker said.
Speaking on the task ahead for the nominees as it relates to national development, Ningi added that, “The nominees should realise the importance of the assignment before them. The last time we had a national census was more than a decade ago.
“No nation improves nor develops without knowing its number and therefore, this is a unique assignment that the nominees will face in due course.
“This is because we are going to face the national census. And you have been selected because of your pedigree, your experience and exposure to the system.
“It is very imperative while you are on that duty, we must see ourselves as Nigerians. There is no basis for any competition; whether there are more Hausa people than Igbo people or Yoruba than Tivs.
“That is not the essence of population count. The essence is to be able to develop a mechanism where we lay a developmental plan that will meet the aspirations of our peoples.”
Naija News recalls that the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari had planned to conduct another census in 2022 but the programme was later moved to 2023.
Again, the exercise was suspended indefinitely by Buhari, a few days before leaving office, saying he would allow the administration of President Bola Tinubu to conduct the census so as to consult wider and make inputs.
Earlier, the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Kwarra, said: “We had been waiting for the screening a long time ago. Thank God we are here today.
“Out of the 19 nominees sent, two will not be here, because the commissioner representing Ondo has been appointed Secretary to the State Government, Ondo.
“The commissioner representing Ogun, he contested House of Assembly election. Initially, he wasn’t declared winner. The court gave him the seat. So he is not going to be sworn in.”
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